Energy Management and the Workplace of the Future: Why we need an efficiency revolution
In the midst of such change, how do employees feel about their places of work? How much importance do they place on the sustainability efforts and ESG...
Energy Management and the Workplace of the Future:
Why we need an efficiency revolution
Energy costs are skyrocketing. Climate change remains an imminent threat. And in the wake of the pandemic, flexible working is likely to dominate the majority of workplaces into the future.
In the midst of such change, how do employees feel about their places of work? How much importance do they place on the sustainability efforts and ESG credentials of their work environments? And who do they trust to ensure their workplaces are as energy efficient and sustainable as possible?
At Infogrid, we wanted to delve deeper into these questions by speaking directly with employees. Partnering with OnePoll, we surveyed 4,000 hybrid workers across the USA and UK on their feelings about the energy crisis and the energy efficiency of their work environments.
The study revealed four key insights:
The majority of employees are worried about the impact of the energy crisis on the cost of working from home.
Most employees are also concerned about the energy efficiency of their workplace.
A significant proportion of employees don’t think that their company is doing enough to reduce its environmental impact.
Many employees think that the primary responsibility to cut greenhouse gas emissions lies with those that run and manage the building.
We’ve come to a crossroads when it comes to how we manage energy at work. Employees want those who manage and own the buildings in which they work to improve energy efficiency and sustainability in the workplace, and many think they should be investing in the right technology to do so. It’s time that landlords and building managers listened.
The majority of employees are concerned about how the energy crisis will impact the cost of working from home
...And many intend to spend more time at work as a result. With spiralling costs predicted, the energy crisis is having a direct impact on our working lives, our research shows.
said they felt concerned about the impact of the energy crisis on the costs of working from home.
What’s more, three out of ten (30%) respondents from the US said they were very concerned and only one in twenty (5%) said they weren't concerned at all. Levels of concern among survey participants in the UK were similar.
Given the clear concerns about the increasing energy costs of working from home, it’s perhaps no surprise that many people are choosing to use facilities outside their homes (such as showers at the gym) and to spend longer in the workplace.
say they have increased the use of facilities away from home.
say they spend longer at work due to recent high temperatures and lack of air conditioning at home.
say it’s still cheaper for them to work from home, due to the significant rise in fuel prices impacting the cost of commuting.
Although, as the UK enters the winter season, 23% plan to work more at their workplace to help cut down on energy use and bills.
Most employees are concerned about the energy efficiency of their workplace
Many intend to take action on energy waste themselves. It’s not just at home that employees are thinking about energy efficiency, our research suggests.
Said they were concerned about energy efficiency in the workplace.
Only one in ten respondents in the US and UK (9% and 11% respectively) said they weren't concerned about this issue at all.
The survey also found that a significant proportion of employees would be willing to take action themselves to tackle energy waste at work, showing just how much this issue matters.
For example, about a third of respondents in both the US (32%) and the UK (27%) would be willing to take action in their day-to-day life such as by turning off lights and monitor screens when not at their desks.
Urging colleagues to take action was another popular measure across the board, expressed by about one-third (30%) and about one-quarter (24%) of respondents in the US and UK respectively.
Employees don’t think their company is doing enough to reduce its environmental impact
But the vast majority are willing to take personal action to improve sustainability in the workplace
These results are part of a pattern of increased attention to workplace sustainability over the last decade. A 2013 study by Bain showed that two thirds of employees cared more about sustainability than they did three years previously.
But a recent IBM research in 2021 revealed that the pandemic acted as a catalyst in tipping employee attitudes firmly in favour of sustainability. 93% of respondents said the pandemic had affected their view on sustainability, while 69% said they were more likely to accept a job with an organisation they consider to be environmentally responsible.
However, some employees—two-fifths (40%) of respondents in the US, and almost a third (31%) in the UK—felt that their company was already doing enough to reduce emissions and be more sustainable.
Just as we saw that employees were willing to take action themselves to be more efficient with their energy consumption at their workplaces, they also said they would act to improve sustainability.
The most popular actions include setting up a working group to campaign for sustainability (42% and 21% of respondents in the US and UK respectively) and raising the issue of sustainability with a manager or relevant team (39% and 34% of respondents in the US and UK respectively). Only 8% in the US, and 16% in the UK, would not take action.
Employees think that the responsibility to cut greenhouse gas emissions lies predominantly with building managers
They also think their company should be making the workplace more efficient.
Infogrid asked respondents who they thought held the primary responsibility in cutting building-generated greenhouse gas emissions. Crucially for the building management industry, building managers were identified by most employees as the most responsible.
One in 5 (20%) respondents in both the UK and US believed the government should take more responsibility, through stronger policies and regulation.
One in four (25%) UK respondents and just over a third (36%) of US respondents agreed with the statement: “My company should invest in more digital tools and technology to help make my workplace more energy efficient”. When it comes to energy efficiency, employees expect their organisations to take the lead with smart, constructive solutions.
It’s time for an efficiency revolution when it comes to energy, and landlords and building managers need to take action
When it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability in our workplaces, there’s still a lot to be done. Our research revealed four key takeaways for those who run or manage buildings:
1. Energy efficiency and sustainability are significant concerns for the majority of employees.
Many of those who work from home are worried about the rising cost of fuel bills—and this is likely to impact the number of people in the workplace.
2. With rising energy costs impacting employee decisions about where to work, hybrid working patterns are going to become even more dynamic than they have been since the pandemic.
It’s never been more important for building managers and landlords to have real-time data to understand how many people are in the office, so they can manage their energy accordingly.
3. A significant proportion of employees want to take action to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of their workplace.
Employees are actively invested—so much so, that they’re willing to escalate matters or even take matters into their own hands. Building managers need to act now to keep up with this shift in mindset and behaviour.
4. Many employees feel the main responsibility for cutting greenhouse emissions lies with those who manage or run the building.
Employees want companies to invest in the right digital technology to help make their workplaces more efficient.
Clearly, energy efficiency and sustainability come high on the agenda for employees both in and out of the office. Taking the right action to improve energy efficiency and sustainability in the workplace could mean the difference between an employee staying in their role, or going elsewhere. Indeed, research carried out for Infogrid’s 2022 Hybrid Workplace report revealed 41% of employees would be more likely to stay at a company that proposes a net-zero strategy.
Measures to improve building energy efficiency and sustainability are also crucial for businesses dealing with volatility in the energy markets and increasing environmental regulation—both of which are unlikely to go away any time soon.
Facilities and building managers, employers, and property owners must take energy efficiency seriously, for the sake of their employees, the planet, and their bottom line.
This research was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Infogrid between 5 September and 12 September 2022, across 4,000 respondents—with 2,000 respondents from each of the US and the UK.
Only those employees who met the following criteria were surveyed in each country: full and part-time employees who work in an office, healthcare environment, education environment or retail environment who work from their workplace at least 1 day a week.